Chronic pain is a pervasive problem, and fibromyalgia is a very common form. It is a chronic disease whose symptoms include muscle and tissue pain, fatigue, depression and trouble sleeping.
Recent data suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized through inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in how people with fibromyalgia deal with pain.
Certain chemicals in the food you eat can trigger the release of neurotransmitters that increase this sensitivity.
While there have only been a few studies on diet and fibromyalgia, the following dietary rules can’t hurt and may help with chronic pain.
Limit sugar as much as possible. The increased insulin levels will usually make the pain significantly worse. So you will want to limit all sugars and this usually includes fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products.
If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible since they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed cereals. The main ones to avoid are wheat grains and gluten.
Eat fresh foods. Eating fresh foods, free from preservatives or additives, may relieve symptoms triggered by coexisting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It’s also a good idea to buy organic foods when possible, as pesticides and chemicals are best avoided. However, the fresh is the best. So if you have to choose between local, fresh, non-organic, and organic but withered, go for fresh and clean properly.
Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is thought to be linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that control mood, and it’s often linked to insufficient sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. While caffeine provides an initial energy boost, it is not a substitute for sleep and is likely to keep you awake.
Try to avoid nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants can trigger arthritis and pain in some people.
Be careful with your fats. Animal-derived omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA have been touted as heart-healthy foods, and they can provide pain relief as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to cut out all trans fats and fried foods because they will promote inflammation.
Use yeast sparingly. Consuming yeast can also contribute to the growth of the yeast fungus, which can contribute to pain.
Avoid pasteurized dairy products. Many people with fibromyalgia have difficulty digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find raw dairy products, especially from organic, grass-fed sources, to be well tolerated.
Cut down on carbohydrates. About 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have poor adrenal function, which affects carbohydrate metabolism and can lead to hypoglycemia.
Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free candies is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.
Avoid additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) often cause problems for patients with pain. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that can stimulate pain receptors; Glutamate levels in the cerebrospinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in patients with fibromyalgia.
Stay away from junk food. Limit or eliminate fast food items, candy, and vending machines. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of poor eating habits, these diet destroyers can also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.